I have had a heart of mercy for farm animals, children and the elderly since I was a little girl.
My mom worked in a nursing home when I was a tiny. And when she couldn't find a babysitter, she would 'very often' take my two brothers and I to work w/ her. My brothers and I were allowed to roam free there so we would sit and play checkers with the women & men in the 'common' area as it was called. We would race into their rooms and want to be chased. So one of the elderly men would come after us with his cane. And we would laugh so hard. They loved seeing us and we developed a lot of close bonds.
I developed this call to mercy from the Lord long before I knew it was 'The Lord' who was calling me to it. Long before I could even understand or verbalize it - but I didn't have to know how to explain it. It's an inner passion - it's a blazing fire in me - to help those that don't have as strong of a voice or no voice at all. And The Lord 'created' me with this passion. He also created me for a passion to create a family that deeply loves one another and others. What fire did He create in you? Maybe it's a fire that you have 'put out' with loss of hope, lack of belief, etc. I would love to know what fire burns in you. What is that passion in you that you don't even have to 'cultivate' rather it just burns deep when you encounter it? If you don't know, just think about what get's your heart beating faster? What do you see or experience that makes you want to jump in and 'do something'?
Last year, I volunteered w/ for For One Chicago (amazing opportunity that thousands in my church body participate in once a year) and I was assigned to meet w/ the people at a particular nursing home in Chicago. And my only instruction was to help the elderly to laugh and smile. This was going to be easy, light and fun, I thought!
I arrived to a beautiful facility but the old folks there didn't seem particularly well cared for. I scanned the room as most of the elderly were in two BIG circles with their wheel chairs - chatting, laughing and ready for the day with all of us volunteers. And there was this woman....
There was an extremely old women sitting in a soiled wheel chair, hunched over to her side, head down with chin to chest, frail as can be, actual crusted food in her hair and she was blind. And the nursing home (which I will not name) clearly wasn't bathing her b/c her body odor was putrid. It made me gag. I was told not to bother her or go near her by the staff....that she was 'unresponsive' to others.
And well, this made me want to go help her even more. I felt this haze of negligence towards this woman. And then that burning fire I experience when I get passionate, started to churn. And once the fire starts, it's as if The Holy Spirit takes over and I go into action whether I want to or not. It's a cool feeling. And we all have it in us.
Everyone headed downstairs to play board games with the elderly folks, pushing them in their chairs and I stayed upstairs. Once everyone was gone and it was only her and I, I grabbed a wash cloth & I cleaned up her hair and face. It was clear that she couldn't lift her head but I lifted it for her and repositioned her posture with some of the couch pillows. I was nervous to do that b/c I didn't know what her situation was medically.
I put my forehead up against hers gently and placed my hands over hers. She moaned. I felt an ache in my heart. And my eyes welled up with tears. I cried because of the loss of life - of hope - I could feel from her and the longing for what felt like love even though she didn't speak to me the entire time. And I must have sang to her softly for 3 hours - no break. I sang anything I could think of....Oceans by Hillsong was one that I repeatedly sang, I hummed, I told her it was going to be okay and I told her that I loved her - and I meant it. She drooled, smiled, her face softened and by the end, many tears came down her face. I massaged her neck. And man, did I cry. It can make me cry right now. She never spoke one word to me.
When it was time for me to go, I went to take my hand off of hers and she very slowed grabbed my hand. She wanted me to stay with her. And my heart ached to leave. I left her there - kissed her forehead -sat on a curb in Lincoln Park and bawled my eyes out. It was a shoulder shaking ugly cry. It was a cry that you would have thought 'someone died in that girl's life'. It was a cry that drew unwanted attention. Several people asked me if I was OK and all I was able to do was shake my head yes.
I was furious. I was furious because she wasn't being loved and taken care of. I was furious inside because God calls us to take care of one another (James 1:27) and He teaches us that LOVE above everything else, is what matters most. 1 Corinthians 13:13 says:
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. And this isn't a mere suggestion from God. He didn't say 'Hey, whas up ya'll, yeah....when you are up for it and you feel like it suits your emotions landscape -show some love to one another'. No, He says (Note: I don't know why I added that southern accent and slang - lol), 'DO THIS'. We (me, all of us) - so often read His Word and then go live our lives, getting all drunk on grace. We are better than this.
I am not sharing this story to say 'Hey, look at me and what a good servant I am'. I am not. If you focus on that, you are 100% missing it - your missing my message of this blog. Please don't miss it. I am sharing this because I am praying we all LOVE one another as we are told to by Him and that we all RISE UP to injustice. I want us to be a community that DOES SOMETHING ABOUT IT - that participates - that is proactive - that simply loves. We are created to LOVE one another. And it's often the least thing we do - we hold back on - we don't know how to do. Yet, we do. We were born to love one another.
We have our priorities so messed up and our approach. I mean, my last two blog posts.....women, we are focused inward on how we look when our eyes and hearts need to be focused OUTWARD on how to pour love into those that are so desperate for it - crazily desperate for our help. We need one another so badly.
And here we sit - here WE SIT soiled in pride - jealously - worry - frustrated - ungratefulness - unforgiveness. All of us. ME TOO.
Let today be 'that' day. The day you show so much love. Show mercy. Show gratitude. Go home and makeout with your husband - thank him for all that he does for your family. Hug your kids tight. When you see someone not being treated right, step in - step up - step OUT.
And if you can't muster the courage of your own to do that? Borrow His. And if you don't know Him, ask me about Him....better yet, ask Him - just talk to Him. He is your friend. And He wants to show you a way of life that will transform your heart in a way that your jaw will hit the floor.
Instead of watching TV during the weeknights, go volunteer, be of service, help others. And this includes your own relationship and family. Be of service to one another. My Pastor said last weekend that society has it wrong, marriage isn't about compromise, it's about both people being of service to one another fully. I think this is true (and those weren't his exact words so I am paraphrasing).
We have so much goodness in us - so much deed seeded love. We aren't to cling on to it-hoard it up. We are to let it pour out of us into others and into our lives. We are missing it all if we don't start putting our love into action.
I love the simple sentence that isn't simple at all: Have mercy.
Luke 6:36 “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”
Created and curated by Kelly, Snapshots of Wellness encourages all of you to cultivate your 'joie de vivre': Compassion for Animals via food, style & lifestyle.